Sports Eye

Lakers’ precarious situation

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

THE Los Angeles Lakers failed to enter the NBA’s playoffs last season and I believe it was due to the retirement of their injured point-guard player, the superstar Kobe Bryant. Records say, Kobe, who stayed with the LA Lakers for 19 consecutive years, was a big factor in powering the California-based squad to multiple final, including towing the team to tie the Boston Celtics NBA record of 16 championship victories.

Thankfully, knowing that the 16-time champions Lakers are gradually sliding down in their efforts since their last championship triumph in 2010, Lakers president Earvin “Magic” Johnson was quick to a draw and hired free agent NBA’s superstar the high-scoring Lebron James from Cleveland Cavaliers to the delight of the Lakers fans (including this writer). And because of his transfer to LA, most of his avid fans call him now “LAbron”, no longer “King James.”

As of this writing (November 8), the Lakers’ position in the league continues to be precarious, this despite the new presence of LAbron after 11 games this season.  Fans have been seeing red with the multi-titled Lakers’ five wins and six losses. They always lost in double digits and manage to win with only just single digit. This is very unusual for the franchise and LAbron is desperately crying for help from his teammates. Hirap kung manalo, sa madaling salita.

I watched seven of their last eleven games this season and noted with great disappointment that LAbron could only rely on his four co-veteran dribblers Rajon Rondo, Lorenzo Ball, Javale Mcgee, Brandon Ingram to score. The rest were neophytes or sophomores in the league and not reliable contributors. The Lakers, I note, still have not jelled and still lack the cohesion needed to back LAbron’s plays. But in spite of the series of debacles, many still believe that the Lakers will surely cross the threshold of this season’s playoffs because of LAbron, and that their 5-6 record as of this writing are just numbers that should not be used to gauge their capability to recover. They are confident that that the Lakers will perk up soon before the second quarter of NBA’s total 82 games.

I believe them and I know and they can enter the playoffs but as far as championship is concerned, that’s different story. The team is still not fully grown to make it to the finals. Yes, maybe next year but not this year. Let’s just wait and see. Who knows, I might still eat my words.

Honestly, I’m an avid fan of the Lakers during my four-and-a-half years in Long Beach, California that started during the era of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper, James Worthy, Byron Scott as the first five of the team that won the championship in 1978-1979 season. Like the Filipinos here and abroad, my love for the team never wavered through the time of Kobe Bryant, Shaquil O’neal and Pau Gasol. But that has changed since Kobe was gone. Like other Filipinos, I shifted my interest in the Golden State Warriors since they became champions anew with Stephen Curry at the helm.

Lakers got the big fish (LAbron) but the small ones they caught are still too raw to chew.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1 PETER 5: 5

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